February 18, 2010

Tomato Risotto: Cooking with Tessa Kiros {Naptime Everyday}

What’s Going on Today: Packing for return to NYC, building last few sand castles on the beach.
Naptime Goals: Reading on the balcony, gather up toys to pack in the diaper bag for the flight.
Tonight’s Meal: Tomato Risotto, Salad

It seems appropriate to kick-off my Cooking with Tessa series while on vacation. If you’ve ever read one of her books you’ll understand that Tessa’s approach to cooking is very similar to mine. She is an accomplished professional chef (I am not a professional, but I feel like one when I cook from her books), busy wife and mother of two. It is clear through her writing and photographs that she is constantly fitting great food into family life and I am simply in awe for her capability to do so.

I’ve been cooking from her books for quite some time, and this is one of my favorite dishes. It’s not a stretch to say that I make this at least twice a month, so it only makes sense that I share this recipe first.

I chose to make this during our stay in Florida because it is so easy and delicious. Though my daughter has been taking long naps on vacation, (there is nothing like fresh air to tire a kid out!), I’ve been using that free time to relax myself. Therefore, when it comes to make dinner each night I stick to menus that are light, delicious and easy to assemble. In this case I made the Risotto and salad right before dinner time and served some fresh fruit for dessert.

Note: I plan to continue Cooking with Tessa on a bi-monthly basis, giving you a background on her and her work, sharing favorite recipes and fun tidbits along the way. Enjoy!


Tomato Risotto

Adapted from Apples for Jam by Tessa Kiros


½ red onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, smashed
2 large basil leaves, torn
1 c. Arborio rice
4 T. olive oil
3 c. vegetable broth
1 c. crushed tomatoes, with juices
2/3 c. fresh mozzarella, cut into small cubes
½ c. Parmesan cheese, freshly grated

Pinch red pepper


1. In a wide heavy bottomed pan heat the olive oil. Add the onion and garlic, cook for 5 minutes, or until light and golden. Add the red pepper flakes and rice, cook for one minute more.
2. Next, add ½ c. of the tomatoes, 1 ½ c. hot broth and 1 of the torn basil leaves. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Then, add the remaining tomatoes, broth and basil and cook for 10 more minutes, until risotto is fully cooked.
3. Scoop out the smashed garlic and discard. Stir in the mozzarella and Parmesan. Serve with extra Parmesan and drizzle of olive oil.

Naptime Notes

Naptime Recipe Serving ideas

Risotto is one of best kinds of flexible meals. You can add, or subtract, almost anything from it and still have a delicious dish. In this case you could consider adding different herbs, chopped vegetables or even some crumbled sausage. Have fun with the flavors!

Naptime Stopwatch

On vacation I was able to make this in 30 minutes from start to finish. Serve it hot, or make it ahead and reheat it when you want to serve it.

Naptime Reviews

This is a great dish for both children and adults. Everyone in the family loves it, it even makes a great first course at a dinner party.